Want, Need, Wear, Read: Christmas Shopping Made Easy


When my daughter was four months old, we celebrated our first Christmas as parents. I had no idea where to begin with shopping. She, obviously, had no preference. I mindlessly bought gifts, at some point, losing count. For the next couple of years, I continued to haphazardly shop, losing track and control. By the time my third child came along, I knew something had to change. I needed a guide. I needed a way to spend less money. We did not need all the toys.

I heard of this concept of something you want, need, wear, and read through friends. This is a great guide for shopping. It hits four categories, making shopping less overwhelming. Since sticking with this idea, shopping is easy and stress-free. Have you considered trying this? Have you struggled to come up with something your child needs or what could be worn besides an outfit? I have done this long enough to think outside the box and offer suggestions for each category.

We do Santa Clause. Growing up, Santa brought us one gift. It was a bigger gift that was left unwrapped, in front of the tree. I took on this idea for their want gift. They let us know what they would like Santa to bring them. There is the want gift. (Babies can be tricky. They can’t tell us what they want. This is where you guess and use your own judgement.) I got one of my children an activity cube for their first Christmas.

Reading is self-explanatory. The obvious answer is books. Get creative.

Reading gifts do not have to be limited to books. Magazine subscriptions are a fun option. Highlights magazine has different magazines for different ages, including babies. Dictionaries, maps, search and find books are just a few ideas. You may think dictionaries and maps would be boring, but I have a child who loves dictionaries. Children have such unique interests. Feed into them.

Outfits are not the only wear gift. It doesn’t have to be limited to clothes.

Is your child set with pajamas, pants, shirts, and coats? Last year, my daughter’s backpack was in sad shape. We got her a nicer backpack that will last her for years. Maybe your child needs some fun dress up clothes. My daughter wants a robe. She recently outgrew the one she has.

What does your child need when they seemingly have everything?

I am constantly telling my children that they do not need anything else. You would think that would make this category pointless. In fact, I have found this to be quite the opposite. My children love to draw and color. Arts and crafts supplies are always a need. Eventually, the paper runs out, the markers run dry, and the coloring books are filled. Outdoor toys such as bubbles and sidewalk chalk are always in demand. Is your child in a sport or involved in activity? Do they need equipment? For your too many toys, get fun storage solutions. Did you know there are chairs, like bean bag chairs, made to store stuffed animals? Does your child need more clothes or accessory for their dolls? What about your baby? Bath toys are fun.

Get creative. Put your own spin on it. We do stockings and an ornament, in addition to the four gifts. Most importantly, let go of that extra stress!

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Originally from New England, my family moved to Pennsylvania before settling in the Cincinnati area. After my family moved away, I made my way across the river to Northern Kentucky, now my forever home. My husband Rusty and I have four children, Molly, Spencer, Rogan, and Emmett, as well as our two cats. I'm a registered nurse now doing the stay at home mom bit. I love raising my children in the Cincinnati area, where there is so much to offer. I'm a Skyline chili loving Reds fan who enjoys zoo trips, watching my children unleash at the children's museum, and finding peace watching airplanes at the CVG airplane viewing area. Coffee and humor get me through these crazy days with small children.


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